Show us your . . . bottle cap self-portrait | Show us your [____] | Chicago Reader

Show us your . . . bottle cap self-portrait 

Each week, we ask you to show us something. This week it's Mary Ellen Croteau's BOTTLE CAP SELF-PORTRAIT.

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

click to enlarge ANDREA BAUER

Mary Ellen Croteau has used plastic as a medium for her work for years, ever since she started thinking about the amount of unrecyclable plastic she was accumulating. "I'd go to the store and buy two items and get three bags," she says. She began braiding the bags, making a 225-foot-long rope with them over the course of seven months, then moved on to knotting, crocheting, and making rugs.

In 2009 she started to make hanging columns of plastic bottle caps. "I noticed that the little ones kept getting caught in one another, and they reminded me of the circles of paint that Chuck Close uses," she says. "And I thought, oh, I'll do a self-portrait like Chuck Close, but just out of plastic bottle caps and see what kind of range of color I can get from the bottle caps.

"I wanted to use them in a way that would spark some kind of thought about how much people use. So when I started asking people to save them for me, they kind of contributed to the process by thinking about the amount they're actually consuming."

Got something to show us? showus@chicagoreader.com

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Julia Thiel

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
March 21
Performing Arts
July 31

Popular Stories